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Cold War Cities

History, Culture and Memory

by Katia Pizzi (Volume editor) Marjatta Hietala (Volume editor)
Edited Collection XII, 316 Pages
Series: Cultural Memories, Volume 4

Summary

The Cold War left indelible traces on the city, where polarities on the global stage crystallized and intersected with political and social dynamics predating and bypassing the Blocs. This collection taps into the rich fabric of memories, histories and cultural interactions of thirteen cities worldwide and the lived experience of urban communities during the long Cold War: activated and mobilized by atomic technologies, taking tourist photographs, attending commercial fairs, enjoying the cinema and the ballet, singing in choirs, paying respect in local cemeteries, visiting museums, and responding to town councils, unions and the local press. Literature, film, photography, the press, the monument, the cemetery, the factory, the ruin, the archive and the natural ecosystem are some of the key frameworks of cultural production elucidated here with a view to countering and exploding received myths about the Cold War.

Table Of Content

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • List of Figures and Tables
  • Introduction. Cold War Cities: History, Culture and Memory
  • Part I Cold War Cities between East and West
  • 1 Commemorating the Berlin Wall: Forms and Spaces of Collective Memory after the Cold War
  • Remembering the German division
  • Public memory and cultural trauma
  • Space, memory and everyday life
  • Structures of memory
  • Types of public memory
  • The memory field of the GDR’s past
  • Berlin 2011: Social actors and memory places
  • Commemorative narratives and practices
  • Conclusion
  • 2 ‘One hour east of Vienna …’ At the Crossroads of Europe: Vienna – Bridgehead and Bridge in the Cold War
  • Introduction
  • ‘At the crossroads of Europe’: The four-power occupation of postwar Austria and the making of Vienna as a Cold War city
  • The politics of anti-communism: Intellectual and cultural cold wars in Vienna
  • From double agent to honest broker: Austria/Vienna as a Cold War mediator
  • Austrian exhibitionism: Cold War memory/amnesia in post-Cold War Vienna
  • Conclusion
  • 3 Cold War Trieste on Screen: Memory, Identity and Mystique of a City in the Shadow of the Iron Curtain
  • Introduction
  • Background and chronology
  • Trieste after the Second World War
  • Between history and memory
  • The moving image
  • Postwar Trieste in film
  • Slovenian film
  • Cold War Trieste and Hollywood
  • The 1950s and beyond
  • Conclusion
  • 4 Cold War Displacements: Belgrade Memories from a Non-Aligned Realm
  • Introduction: Shaping a new identity
  • Beautifying the city, meeting the deadline
  • Creating a memory
  • The network(s) of dignity
  • The node of global recognition: The Park of Friendship
  • The collateral space: Ledine
  • Conclusion: Anticipating a bright future
  • Part II Through the Lens of the Cold War
  • 5 ‘A Strange Beeping Noise’: The Plutonium Legacy in a Former Cold War Citadel
  • 6 Chernobyl Diaries: Monuments, Ruins and Memories
  • Sarcophagus/shelter: Monument as ruin
  • Pripyat: Ruins as monument
  • Conclusion: Ruins as voids
  • 7 The İzmir Fair in the Cold War: Remembering and Forgetting
  • Introduction
  • City memory: Collective forgetting and selective remembrance
  • From cosmopolitanism towards nationalism
  • Birth of the ‘Culture Park’ based on Soviet modernity
  • Remembering the Fair: Scenes from public memory
  • ‘Those were the days’: Coca-Cola and roller skating
  • Haunted by the ghost of Stalin
  • Man on the Moon
  • Conclusion
  • Appendix 1: Profile of interviewees
  • 8 A Room with a View: Cold War Cairo
  • Cold-Warriors-in-training
  • Cold War otherness
  • A cultural beachhead
  • Aligning the view
  • A backward look
  • Pre-eminence versus prominence
  • Shifting sands
  • Part III In Dialogue with Socialist Utopias
  • 9 In Memory of a Cold War Friend: Monuments Commemorating the Finnish–Soviet Relationship in Helsinki and Tampere
  • Introduction
  • The Finnish policy of friendship
  • The Statue of Peace
  • Lenin Park
  • Kiev Park and the town-twinning monument
  • The Monument to World Peace
  • After the Cold War?
  • 10 Vilnius and the Vanishing Grave
  • 11 Bologna in the Early Cold War: Histories and Memories of a Communist City in the West
  • Introduction
  • Bologna in the Cold War: Between ideological rivalry and interaction
  • Forms of ideological rivalry: Political, social and institutional conflicts
  • Forms of political and cultural cooperation with the Soviet Bloc
  • Cold War perceptions at the urban level through the eyes of the local communist press: The case of Bologna
  • The myth of the Soviet Union and the communist world
  • The ‘demonization’ of United States politics: Material and symbolic conflicts
  • The memory of Cold War-related events in Bologna: Between remembrance and amnesia
  • Places of memory for unfairly dismissed workers during the Cold War
  • Stalin’s death sixty years on: A collective amnesia?
  • Conclusion
  • Notes on Contributors
  • Index
  • Series index

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Figures and Tables

Barbara Grüning, ‘Commemorating the Berlin Wall: Forms and Spaces of Collective Memory after the Cold War’

Figure 1.1 Berlin, Bernauerstrasse, 14 August 2011. Photograph by Barbara Grüning.

Figure 1.2 Berlin, Bernauerstrasse, 14 August 2011. Photograph by Barbara Grüning.

Figure 1.3 Map of the commemoration sites in Berlin on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the building of the Berlin Wall.

Figure 1.4 Berlin, former control tower in Alt Treptow, 14 August 2011. Photograph by Barbara Grüning.

Figure 1.5 Berlin, Bernauerstrasse, Zeitzeugencafé, 14 August 2011. Photograph by Barbara Grüning.

Günter Bischof and Stefan Maurer, ‘“One hour east of Vienna …” At the Crossroads of Europe: Vienna – Bridgehead and Bridge in the Cold War’

Figure 2.1 Heroes’ Monument of the Red Army, Schwarzenbergplatz, Vienna. Photograph by Stefan Maurer.

Figure 2.2 The private Third Man Museum in Vienna. Photograph by Stefan Maurer.

Figure 2.3 A small section of the Iron Curtain remaining on the Austro-Hungarian border. Photograph by Stefan Maurer. ← vii | viii →

Aleksandra Stupar and Goran Antonić, ‘Cold War Displacements: Belgrade Memories from a Non-Aligned Realm’

Table 4.1 Participating countries and leaders of their delegations.

Figure 4.1 Beautifying Belgrade. Photographic documentation, 1961. Reproduced with the permission of Borba.

Figure 4.2 The main sites and routes of the event. Printed conference material, 1961. Reproduced with the permission of the Archive of Yugoslavia.

Figure 4.3 Emphasizing space: the temporary obelisk on Marx and Engels Square. Photographic documentation, 1961. Reproduced with the permission of Borba.

Figure 4.4 Increasing monumentality: a special multi-coloured fountain in front of the Federal Executive Council. Photographic documentation, 1961. Reproduced with the permission of Borba.

Paul Dobraszczyk, ‘Chernobyl Diaries: Monuments, Ruins and Memories’

Figure 6.1 The author standing next to the 2006 monument dedicated to those who died in the Chernobyl clean-up operation, with the ‘Sarcophagus’ structure seen in the background. Photograph reproduced with permission of Quintin Lake.

Figure 6.2 Memorial to the twenty-eight firemen killed in the immediate aftermath of the Chernobyl accident, installed in 1996. Photograph by Paul Dobraszczyk.

Figure 6.3 Soviet era paintings in Pripyat’s former Palace of Culture, October 2007. Photograph by Paul Dobraszczyk.

Figure 6.4 Gynaecological chair in the grounds of Pripyat’s former hospital, October 2007. Photograph by Paul Dobraszczyk. ← viii | ix →

Figure 6.5 Children’s toys left on a rusting carousel by former residents of Pripyat, October 2007. Photograph by Paul Dobraszczyk.

Sezgi Durgun, ‘The İzmir Fair in the Cold War: Remembering and Forgetting’

Figure 7.1 Founder of the İzmir Fair, Hüseyin Ercan (with hat), and his family at the İzmir Fair’s amusement park, in front of the Ferris wheel designed by him, 1939. Reproduced with permission of Hüseyin Pekmen Private Collection, İzmir.

Martha Langford and John Langford, ‘A Room with a View: Cold War Cairo’

Figure 8.1 Old and new fantasies commingle on the Giza Plateau, with camel rides duly recorded by the Cold War tourist. Photograph by W. Langford, United Arab Republic, April 1963. Original in colour. Reproduced with permission of the authors.

Figure 8.2 The technological spectacle of the Aswan High Dam fits seamlessly with earlier feats of engineering: the Sphinx and the Pyramids. Photograph by W. Langford, United Arab Republic, April 1963. Original in colour. Reproduced with permission of the authors.

Figure 8.3 The Sphinx rising from the sand in eternal isolation; a pyramid anchored to the now by two late model cars pulled up close to the base. Photograph by W. Langford, United Arab Republic, April 1963. Original in colour. Reproduced with permission of the authors.

Figure 8.4 A perversion of the Hilton programme – a cantankerous view of the city towards the east – is the sole image of Cairo registered by the Cold War tourist’s camera. Photograph by W. Langford, United Arab Republic, April or May 1963. Reproduced with permission of the authors. ← ix | x →

Timo Vilén, Kirsi Ahonen, Sampsa Kaataja and Marjatta Hietala, ‘In Memory of a Cold War Friend: Monuments Commemorating the Finnish–Soviet Relationship in Helsinki and Tampere’

Figure 9.1 Erected as a symbol of the peaceful coexistence and friendship between Finland and the Soviet Union in 1968, the Statue of Peace is located in a tranquil park close to a passenger harbour and a wealthy residential area. The Statue of Peace, Helsinki. Photograph by Timo Vilén, 2015.

Figure 9.2 Lenin Park neighbours Linnanmäki, a lively amusement park, but remains undiscovered by most of its visitors. Lenin Park, Helsinki. Photograph by Kirsi Ahonen, 2015.

Figure 9.3 The town-twinning monument in Kiev Park was erected in 1981 on the occasion of the sixth Finnish–Soviet town-twinning conference. Kiev Park and the town-twinning monument, Tampere. Photograph by Kirsi Ahonen, 2013.

Figure 9.4 Erected in 1990, the Monument to World Peace stands in a secluded corner of Hakaniemi Market Square, a location symbolically associated with traditional working class culture and the labour movement. The Monument to World Peace, Helsinki. Photograph by Kirsi Ahonen, 2015.

Eloisa Betti, ‘Bologna in the Early Cold War: Histories and Memories of a Communist City in the West’

Figure 11.1 La lotta, 2 February 1951. Reproduced with permission of the Istituto per la storia e le memorie del Novecento Parri Emilia-Romagna.

Figure 11.2 La lotta, 3 June 1950. Reproduced with permission of the Istituto per la storia e le memorie del Novecento Parri Emilia-Romagna. ← x | xi →

Figure 11.3 La lotta, 6 March 1953. Reproduced with permission of the Istituto per la storia e le memorie del Novecento Parri Emilia-Romagna.

Figure 11.4 La lotta, 19 June 1951. Reproduced with permission of the Istituto per la storia e le memorie del Novecento Parri Emilia-Romagna.

Figure 11.5 La lotta, 21 December 1951. Reproduced with permission of the Istituto per la storia e le memorie del Novecento Parri Emilia-Romagna.

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KATIA PIZZI AND MARJATTA HIETALA

Introduction
Cold War Cities: History, Culture and Memory

As we began to put this collection together, a fourteen-metre-high V2 (Vergeltungs-Waffe 2) rocket carrying a one-ton warhead was exhibited in the atrium of the Imperial War Museum in London. The rocket had weighed heavily on the murky London sky in September 1944, silently bent on striking the city. Despite its low efficacy when compared with heavier bombers, the V2 swiftly acquired symbolic status and came to embody the visceral response elicited by modern warfare, a tangible testament to the trauma encapsulated in dehumanizing technological conflict.1

The symbolic legacy of the V2 rocket was reignited in the Cold War years, congealing in the so-called Space Race. The decades of the 1950s and 1960s witnessed rapid developments in rocket science, especially in the Soviet Union. Deployed to deliver nuclear weapons safely and swiftly to destination, impossible for defence systems to stop once launched, from then on the rocket became a staple of military operations. The cultural capital of the rocket grew further as military, atomic and space-age technologies joined hands, inspiring awe on both sides of the Iron Curtain. Much like the tank in the First World War, the rocket became familiar to millions of TV watchers worldwide. Its skyward thrust symbolized political posturing and, at the same time, ancestral fears, encoding and transcending the technological prowess, the force and vulnerability of the Cold War. Urban communities in both communist and non-communist countries were especially captivated and installed rocket replicas in Cold War playgrounds.2 ← 1 | 2 →

The global glamour of the Space Race is one of the most prominent markers of the broad spread of Cold War ideologies and their percolating into cultural production and consumption, life styles and habits of urban and civic communities the world over. Implicated in the ideological cleavages tearing apart the international arena, cities and urban communities, on the other hand, experienced fluid forms of reception and engagement, manifested through civic government politics as much as outward looking. Cultural engagement responded to national and international prompts, entangling with them in particular manners, embracing or bypassing official discourses, as the chapters included in this collection eloquently demonstrate. If the town is, to borrow from Rykwert, a ‘machine for thinking with’ and ‘an instrument for understanding the world and the human predicament in it’,3 this notion holds particularly true in the Cold War era. The Cold War city, whether during or after this period, makes for a sideways, oblique and, for this very reason, all the more stimulating vantage point. Discourses filtering through the arena of international politics are productively revisited through the medium of city living. Diverse and shifting urban memoryscapes, the ruination and re-imagining of urban spaces during and after this era, help interrogate and problematize ossified Cold War logics and traditional historiography.

The chapters included in this collection take city living and urban culture as relatively novel and particularly advantageous stances from which to critically explore the Cold War and its legacy. We aim to integrate memory and history in order to shed light on a broad field encompassing the histories, memories, daily lives and multiple forms of cultural exchange, consumption and production across and within cities, both Eastern and ← 2 | 3 → Western, during and after the Cold War. In particular, we focus on cultural production (e.g. magazines, films, photographies, commercial fairs and choral societies) and memorial sites (e.g. monuments, artifacts, cemeteries, ruined industrial sites and museums) in terms of exchange and interaction, thus facilitating the emergence of new readings.

Biographical notes

Katia Pizzi (Volume editor) Marjatta Hietala (Volume editor)

Katia Pizzi is Director of the Centre for the Study of Cultural Memory at the Institute of Modern Languages Research, School of Advanced Study, University of London, where she is also Senior Lecturer in Italian Studies. She obtained degrees from the Universities of Bologna, Kent and Cambridge and previously lectured in Italian at the University of Kent. Pizzi has published extensively on modern literary culture, memory and the history of cities, especially Trieste. Marjatta Hietala is Emerita Professor of General History at the University of Tampere and Honorary Doctor at the University of Stockholm. She has been a professor at the University of Helsinki, the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Minnesota. From 2010 to 2015 she was the president of the International Committee of Historical Sciences (ICHS)/Comité international des sciences historiques (CISH). She has written comparative history on the infrastructure of cities, the diffusion of innovations and creative cities, mostly in Europe.

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